Thursday, December 15, 2022

Christmas and Jesus Christ - The Loving Message

What better time to talk about Jesus than in December?  The time from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day is very special to us.  In November, we give thanks to God for what we have - food, shelter, family, friends - and for football.  Why we have to give thanks to the Detroit Lions each Thanksgiving morning, I'll likely never know.  Anyway, then on black Friday in all its glory and for the next five weeks, we all start preparing for Christmas and New Year's Day.  

 Staré Město Christmas Market - Prague

Easter certainly has its merits as a time to reflect on Jesus, but in my humble opinion, Christmas is the best Holiday ever.  As a child believing in Santa Claus was phenomenal.  The Easter bunny stories just could never top Santa's reindeer.  My red-suited old man has reindeer that fly, and he comes to my house every year with a new baseball glove or a football.  Winning.  But as a young adult, Christmas was just another holiday when I got to go home from wherever I was living, and I kind of lost track of why Christmas was so special.  Then, we had children.  Children who we had to teach how to be good adults and productive members of society.  Now, and as progressive children of boomer parents from the sixties and even before our children were born, we briefly considered whether we would teach our children the same traditions which our parents had taught us, or would we stray from our roots for something that we may feel is better for our offspring and for society.  In the end (and it was an easy choice), we chose to raise our children as Christians.  

Consequently, and as stated above, the Holidays are very special to us.  Not only do folks prepare by buying gifts for others, the vast majority of Christians, and many non-Christians, also reflect on who Jesus was and what Christmas and Jesus means to us.  As parents who chose to raise Christian children, we had a lot of questions to answer as they grew up.  Daddy, why do Santa's reindeers fly?  Mommy, how does Santa get down the chimney?  Mommy, why does Santa leave presents for us?   Daddy, who was Jesus? 

Okay, now the kids just left the kiddie pool and jumped right into the deep end.  Who was Jesus and why do we celebrate Him?  Good questions.  Our now adult children have come to completely different understandings related to Jesus Christ and the Bible, but they each reached the very same general conclusion.  One attends Christian church semi-regularly.  One believes that the stories in the Bible are just mythical stories about a real person named Jesus who was an amazing philosopher, whose philosophy is a great model for life.  One actually told me that the Christian stories in the Bible are "a false construct."  I have to say this one made me laugh, but despite different approaches, they all believe in living the philosophy of Jesus Christ.  The philosophy of Jesus Christ is one of Love and Charity.  While I don't know how reindeer fly or how Santa gets his fat butt down the chimney, I do know who Jesus was.  Jesus is the way, and He is the Word.  Jesus taught the world that the path to true happiness and joy is love.  Love of your family.  Love for your friends.  Love for your neighbors.  Love of your fellowman.  Love of yourself.  

While I am reflecting on this Christmas and while I don't know about you, I am of the firm opinion that the world could use a little bit more Jesus right about now.  There is so much of the darkness of hate, greed, and narcissism in the world, our family kind of insulates ourselves from it with our own faith and love.  We can be saved as a people by living Christ's message of love whether you believe in the actual Bible stories or not.  

The Great Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of his most famous speeches titled Loving Your Enemies, concluded, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  This message from Reverend King just so happens to be the message of Jesus Christ which we celebrate this and every December.  It is a message who many in the darkness cannot hear, but we love them anyway.  

In order to make the entire world a better place, we have to be better people.  So, if we do anything at all this Christmas, I pray that we choose to love and that we all love just a little bit more than usual and hopefully that love can carry us all out of the darkness.  Amen, brothers and sisters!  Lol.  On that note, my family and I bid you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!